Fish en Papillote (Cod in Parchment)

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This dish is truly restaurant-quality but is also one of the easiest recipes to prepare.

Even non-seafood eaters enjoy this dish. You can use any kind of fish, but, cod has a very neutral taste and is an affordable piece of fish. Cod is the same fish that is used in classic fish and chips. And this seafood dish comes together from start to finish in less than 30 minutes!

A straight-on view of two dinner plates that are holding servings of fish en papillote with a lemon wedge off to the side.

How To Make Fish en Papillote (Cod in Parchment)


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The Ingredients You Will Need

This dish is so easily adaptable to tastes. You can toss in any vegetable that can typically be steamed. Mushrooms are also wonderful additions. And the sky is the limit for herbs. Here is how we love to prepare fish in parchment!

Kitchen Tools

Parchment paper – You can substitute foil for parchment paper, but you it won’t puff and steam quite the same. See the video for how to create the packet or pouch.
Sturdy baking sheet – Since you will be cooking the fish at a high temperature in your oven, you’ll want a baking sheet that can handle the heat.


Fish filets – We go with cod, but you can use any flakey fillet such as halibut, snapper, redfish, grouper, etc.
Seasonings – Salt and pepper.
Butter – Unsalted.
Onion – Red, yellow, white, or shallots. Thinly sliced.
Herbs – Fresh is always best. We use thyme and rosemary.
Cherry tomatoes – Sliced in half. We use red, yellow, and purple, but any type will work wonderfully.
Oil – Olive oil or extra-virgin. Go with a quality brand, if possible.
Wine – Dry white is best, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

EXPERT TIP: To form the pouch, cut a piece of parchment paper to approximately a 15″x15″ square. Fold the parchment paper in the middle to create a crease. Use a pair of scissors to cut a heart shape. Open it back open, and build the fish, herbs, and vegetables, in the center right next to the crease.

Two photos with the first being a person crimping the edges of a parchment paper pouch that is filled with fish and herbs and the second is of the pouch after it has been completely sealed.

Tips for Making Perfect Fish en Papillote

Choose Fresh Cod – Opt for fresh, high-quality cod fillets to ensure the best flavor and texture for your dish. Look for fillets that are firm, moist, and have a mild, slightly sweet aroma.

Properly Seal the Parchment Packets – Ensure that you tightly seal the parchment paper packets to create a steam-filled environment that will cook the cod gently and infuse it with the flavors of the accompanying ingredients. This will help to lock in moisture and create a tender, flavorful result.

Monitor Cooking Time – Keep a close eye on the cooking time to prevent overcooking the cod. Since the fish is enclosed in parchment paper, it will cook quickly in the steam. Be mindful of the thickness of the fillets and adjust the cooking time accordingly to achieve perfectly cooked, tender cod.

EXPERT TIP: Keep folding the edges over each crimp until you reach the end of the parcel. Pinch and fold the ends to form a sturdy seal. This is important to prevent any liquid from leaking out from the parchment pouch.

Two photos with the first being a person crimping the edges of a parchment paper pouch that is filled with fish and herbs and the second is of the pouch after it has been completely sealed.

How To Serve

There is just something so impressive and intriguing about serving the fish still sealed in the pouch to your guests.

If you do serve the dish unopened, be sure to let your guests know that some hot steam will be released when they open the pouch. Just give them a heads-up. It’s not dangerous, but it’s considerate to let them know.

Serving the dish with the pouch already opened is also gorgeous. You can remove the contents of the pouch onto plates if desired. A lemon wedge is a wonderful garnish and adds color and a splash of citrus to the finished dish.

This recipe is fulfilling on its own. However, a nice rice pilaf, homemade dinner rolls, and a crispy white wine round out a perfect meal.

An overhead view of two dinner plates that are holding servings of fish en papillote with lemon wedges on the side of the plate and a bottle of wine nearby.

Other Amazing Seafood Recipes to Try

Making a restaurant-quality seafood dish may seem like a tall order. Trust us when we tell you it’s so much easier than you might think. Here is a wonderful collection of foolproof seafood recipes that you and your guests will rave about:

Parmesan Cod with Romesco Sauce
Mediterranean Tuna Steaks
Peppercorn Crusted Tuna
Blackened Redfish
Steamed Snapper with Olives and Herbs
Halibut with Sautéed Vegetables
Seared Haddock with Mushroom Algordolce Sauce
Lemon Garlic Tilapia
Sautéd Wild Striped Bass
Poached Salmon with Capers and Hollandaise Sauce
Salmon Puttanesca

These are all absolutely amazing and we couldn’t pick one over the other. But, in the meantime, isn’t this fish in a pouch calling your name?

A close-up view of a steamed fillet of cod that has been cooked in a packet of parchment paper along with white wine, herbs, cherry tomatoes, and red onion.

This dish is so flavorful and so easy that even folks who aren’t crazy about seafood enjoy it. A lot.

There is probably not another dish around that can be made so quickly, with such simple ingredients, that delivers such superior taste and texture.

And there is something uniquely satisfying, and even elegant) about eating the dish from the inside of a pouch! It’s fun and incredibly delicious!

Flakey, juicy, and deeply flavorful. en papillote is the way to go!

A close-up view of a fish en papillote that has been partially eaten and is resting in parchment paper with cooking liquid and steamed cherry tomatoes.

Ready to make the best fish dish in town, in less than 20 minutes? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A straight-on view of two dinner plates that are holding servings of fish en papillote with a lemon wedge off to the side.

Fish en Papillote (Cod in Parchment)

Fish en Papillote is one of the simplest seafood dishes to prepare. But, the results are truly restaurant-quality. Be sure to pick up fresh-looking cod from a reliable source. You can serve this to guests in the pouch or out. Either way is impressive and so delicious.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: French
Keyword: cod in a packet recipe, easy seafood recipe, how to make fish en papillote
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 264kcal


  • 4 15"x15" parchment paper squares
  • sturdy baking sheet 1 to 2, depending on the size of your pouches.


  • 4 5 oz cod filets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter chilled
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp white wine
  • lemon wedges for serving
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper for garnish
  • 2 tbsp snipped chives for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Season the cod all over with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    4 5 oz cod filets, Salt and pepper
  • Fold each parchment paper square in half, pressing to form a crease. Use a pair of scissors to cut one side in the shape of half of a heart. Open the paper so it is a full heart shape. (see blog post or video for visual guidance).
  • Slice each tbsp of butter into four slivers. Place one of the slivers on the parchment paper in the center, just right of the crease. Add a handful of sliced onions over the butter.
    4 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 red onion
  • Place the seasoned cod filet on top of the onions. Add two sprigs of thyme and one sprig of rosemary on top of the cod filet. Sprinkle about ½ cup of tomatoes around the cod. Top with the remaining slivers of butter. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil over the cod and tomatoes, and then carefully pour about 1 tbsp of wine over the top. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper over the tomatoes.
    8 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 cups cherry tomatoes, 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 4 tbsp white wine
  • To create the pouch, fold the open side of the parchment over to meet the other side. Crimp the end and then begin folding over the edges, about 1 inch of paper at a time. Continue until you reach the end of the pouch. Fold the end over and twist it to form a complete seal. (see blog post or video for visual guidance). Place on a baking sheet and repeat this process with the remaining ingredients.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (if the filet is more than 1 inch thick, it will need to steam for about 10 to 11 minutes, less than 1 inch, 8 to 9 minutes is all that's needed). Don't overcook the fish!
  • Serve at once, either in the pouch or out, with lemon wedges on the side. Garnish with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
    lemon wedges


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
Steaming the fish in the parchment paper in the hot oven cooks the fish quickly. To be certain, you'll want the internal temperature to reach 135 to 145°F.  Unless your filets are extra thick, 8 to 10 minutes is all that's needed. 


Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 813IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
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    • Hi Sandy! We are so so happy you made the fish en papillote and had such success! And isn’t it great how easy it is? Thank you so much for sharing and for the wonderful review!! Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Love You Guys! Can watch you both all day! This truly is a Delish Dish. Last time making fish in this manner, I julienned leek, carrot, zucchini..the usual herbs, wine and before sealing placed a dollop of creme fraiche on top. MmmMmmm Decadent.

    • Thank you SO MUCH!! That means so much to us. We love preparing fish this way. So easy and so delicious! Thanks for sharing and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us! Please stay in touch! Kris & Wesley

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